Hundreds of state troopers face being fired as state denies all religious and health exemptions for mandates

OLYMPIA, WA- Typically, employees are allowed to opt out of things such as vaccination mandates for one of two reasons—health concerns or religious exemptions.

However in the new world of adios personal liberty courtesy of power-hungry governors, we take you to Washington State, where incompetent Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has decided that religion is no longer an adequate excuse to avoid the jab.

According to Jason Rantz of 770 KTTH in Seattle, Inslee has now told troopers with the Washington State Patrol (WSP), who have successfully worked for the past 18 months without a vaccine by wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) to avoid the ‘rona, that the religious exemptions no longer apply.

In an email sent to WSP staff Thursday, Inslee wrote that “there is no accommodation that can be provided for the religious exemption requests.” A subsequent email sent by a WSP captain confirmed the directive.

So as a result of the decision, which impacts any “public-facing” position, troopers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or state dictator Inslee says they will be fired. Rantz said the decision was made after human resources consulted with the Attorney General’s office. The email specifically puts the blame for the decision on Inslee’s office.

This decision could have a significant negative impact on staffing within the Washington State Patrol, which Rantz notes could “cripple the entire department.”

According to the email obtained by the Jason Rantz show on KTTH, a high-ranking official within the WSP confirmed that “there is no accommodation that can be provided for the religious exemption requests.”

“I wish I had better news on this as I know many of us have been waiting to hear back regarding accommodation requests,” the email, sent to some WSP staff read.

“I know this is hard news to hear for many of us. I wanted to share this with you directly as soon as I found out instead of waiting for the daily bulletin to come out.”

Rantz said that WSP troopers can expect to see their religious exemption requests denied in the coming days.

The second email, sent on Friday morning and written by a WSP captain noted that the guidance was provided by state human resources from “guidance provided by the Governor’s Office.”

“At this time, it has been confirmed that for any public-facing position, there are limited accommodations available,’ the email reads, and continued that “there is no accommodation we can provide for their religious exemption requests.”

Continuing, the email read, “I have already asked how this is possible and I’m seeking clarification on how we have been working in this Covid environment for the past 17-months utilizing the appropriate PPE and social distancing protocols to complete our mission.”

Leaked emails obtained showing correspondence between Inslee and representatives for Attorney General Bob Ferguson showed the state of Washington wrote the religious exemption form to be as “narrow as possible.”

This was done in order to prevent religious staffers from receiving accommodation. However the forms provided to assorted staff members noted that any exemption would be subject to the ability to provide accommodations.

They are not only trying to limit religious exemptions but also medical exemptions. According to the email, “the employee [seeking medical exemption] will have to take leave during that waiting period until they can come back to work fully vaccinated.”

While the email left a small opening that perhaps things might change, many state employees are preparing to lose their jobs.

One such person is a Washington State Trooper, Phillip Berg who is only five years into his career with the WSP. Berg previously served in the military and felt the call to join the state patrol and give something back to the community. He said that he is being forced out over the vaccine mandate.

“The public needs to be made aware of the repercussions of what October 19 looks like if medical exemptions and religious exemptions are not granted,” Berg said on Rantz’s show on KTTH, speaking in his personal capacity and not as a state trooper.

Berg believes the mandate will have a devastating effect on WSP staffing if accommodations are not provided.

“I disagree with the premise of [a] mandate on its face, [but] I decided to put in my religious exemption form for a specific reason,” he said.

“That it’s a chance to stand up for the unborn. That is my objection to it. The fetal cell lines used in the process to create this vaccine. So it’s an opportunity for me to have a voice for the unborn that didn’t have a choice in this.”

He emphasized that he will not let the feckless Inslee take that away from him.

“There’s nothing that anyone or any governmental entity can to do get me to disregard what God has placed on my heart,” Berg said.

“There’s nothing that can be done to me, promised to me, or taken away from me to dissuade me from my God-given convictions. So, yes, I’m 100% ready to be terminated October 18, and I can’t be swayed from that.”

Rantz said that if employees who seek accommodation or are ideologically opposed to Inslee’s mandate are fired, the Washington State Patrol will suffer what he describes as an “unprecedented staffing crisis.”

In a poll taken of members between Aug 9-17, troopers were asked if they plan to refuse the vaccination, even under threat of termination, 296 said yes. A more general question which asked troopers if they disagree with mandatory vaccinations showed 449 troopers in opposition to the plan while only 19 supported it.

In an email sent to members last week by the State Patrol’s association that was obtained by Rantz, they asked:

“Important questions need to be addressed, including what the agency will look like with a 20-35 percent loss of employees? How will the agency deploy resources to the areas that are most impacted?” the letter asked.

One trooper who said he will not take the vaccine and will accept termination is Robert LaMay, a 22-year department veteran who is refusing the vaccine. Also speaking in his personal capacity, LaMay warned of the implications of terminating so many troopers much as Berg did.

“I don’t know if people understand the amount of numbers, we’re talking about for state employees that are looking at leaving, LaMay told Rantz.

“I mean, we’re talking, just patrol, 400 or 500, 600 people. We have probably 800 guys that actually work the road, the rest of them are management positions, things of that nature…detectives. So if just a quarter of those types of people actually refused to get the vaccination and they are terminated on [Oct. 18]? That’s what the citizens of the state are actually looking at.”

This is something that bears watching. A number of power-hungry governors and mayors have decided to push mandatory vaccinations on their employees, and a number of those employees are going to push back. Even in a case such as Washington State, you’re talking to a substantial decimation of its authorized strength.

Extrapolate that out to a city such as New York or Chicago and the results would be absolutely devastating. In a battle of wits, our money is on the cops.

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Inslee is no stranger to screwing over law enforcement in Washington State. In May, he signed a police “reform” bill that will significantly impact (in a negative way) police in the state. For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

OLYMPIA, WA – On Tuesday, May 18th, Democratic Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a dozen bills that are designed to improve accountability for law enforcement.

According to the Associated Press (AP):

“The dozen bills Inslee signed include outright bans of police use of chokeholds, neck restraints, and no-knock warrants such as the one that helped lead to Taylor’s killing in Louisville, Kentucky.”

Washington Gov. Inslee signs sweeping police reform measures https://t.co/ScdooL7Vl5

— Daniel Shunra (@shunradan) May 19, 2021

The legislation requires officers to intervene if their colleagues engage in excessive force, which is reportedly a demand that was inspired by the officers indirectly involved in the George Floyd incident.

The bills also create an independent office to review the use of deadly force by police, making it easier to de-certify police officers for bad acts, and require officers to use “reasonable care,” including exhausting de-escalation tactics in carrying out their duties.

The bills make the use of tear gas and car pursuits restricted and it is now easier for individuals to sue officers when they inflict injury.

Before signing the bills, Inslee said in a statement:

“As of noon today, we will have the best, most comprehensive, most transparent, most effective police accountability laws in the United States.”

He added:

“These bills are all going to work in coordination with one another to create a system of accountability and integrity stronger than anywhere else in the nation.”

A bold move towards serious police reform by Jay Inslee.

The Associated Press: Washington governor signs sweeping police reform measures.https://t.co/FJyHloUuLN

— James Sayer_The Breakdown (@JamesSa75888275) May 19, 2021

In 2020, Inslee convened a task force to suggest ways to guarantee independent investigations of police use of deadly force. This task force was put together after community outrage over the death of Manuel Ellis, who was reportedly claiming he could not breathe while being restrained by Tacoma police.

When signing the bills, Inslee did so at a community center in Tacoma. Under the legislation recommended by the task force, the state will have an independent office that will hire regional teams to review such cases.

There are also restrictions on hiring police or former police officers as investigators and eventually the investigations will be conducted by civilians with other areas of expertise, such a behavioral health.

Reportedly, the measures were driven by Democrats, who control both houses in Olympia and several of the key lawmakers pushing the bills were people of color.

According to Rep. Jesse Johnson of Federal Way, these individuals worked closely with families of people killed by police, community activist groups, and police groups themselves, such as the Washington Fraternal Order of Police, in developing some of the other bills.

He said:

“This process was deeply collaborative, deeply visionary, and deeply intentional about lifting up every voice from community to law enforcement.”

Washington Gov. Inslee signs reform measures banning police chokeholds, no-knock warrants https://t.co/28PNU7WaXN pic.twitter.com/YkYdE0JcNQ

— Jairo Rodriguez (@RealtorJairo) May 19, 2021

Some of the bills, including one signed earlier by Inslee that reforms the private arbitration system by which officers can appeal discipline, had bipartisan backing.

A coalition of Washington state law enforcement unions, representing more than 14,000 officers, said it could accept some measures, including the arbitration reform and duty-to-intervene bills.

However, the coalition did express concern that the decertification bill threatened the due-process rights of officers.

The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, which represents 60% of the states fully commissioned law enforcement officers, opposed the bill restricting police tactics and the measure requiring” reasonable care” in using force.

Marco Monteblanco, Washington State FOP’s President, said that the organization worked hard to bring these bills into a place that is workable to allow officers to still do their duties and keep communities safe.

He said:

“We need to go out there and do things to make sure ALL citizens, including our law enforcement professionals, are safe.”

Governor Inslee Signs 12 Police Reform Bills, Local Police Respond https://t.co/aw6de6RsYR pic.twitter.com/pVD720bdEF

— TriCities WA News (@tricitieswanews) May 19, 2021

Rep. Johnson, who is also a member of the legislature’s Black Members Caucus, said in a statement:

“All of these bills together I think are a constellation of efforts to create accountability and justice within the system and I think it’s going to make things safer.”

Many Republicans have disagreed. Sen. Mike Padden, the ranking Republican on the Senate Law and Justice Committee, went so far as to call the package of bills “hostile to law enforcement.”

Padden specifically criticized the ban on the Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint, a technique used by many departments nationally, which he argued if applied properly, can be safe and effective.

He stated:

“It’s a shame to see that tool take out of the tool box.”

Monteblanco, who is also a Kennewick Police Department detective, also said:

“I’m optimistic, even with the bills I didn’t particularly agree on.”

Monteblaco was reportedly involved in the entire process of these laws, communicating with lawmakers and community members and giving his input from a police perspective.

He said:

“We are having these discussions on a local and national level and it is an obligation of police to listen and be at the table of those discussions. We may not agree on everything, but we are listening and that helps build trust and open communication from all sides.”

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters? Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you. Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories. Click to check it out.

Maryland Democrat lawmakers override Governor’s vetoes, pass sweeping police reform legislation

ANNAPOLIS, MD- On Saturday, April 10th, the democratic-majority led Maryland General Assembly voted to override Governor Larry Hogan’s (R) vetoes of three police reform bills that are part of the four-part Maryland Police Accountability Act.

That makes Maryland the first state to repeal a Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights and enact sweeping changes to the state’s law enforcement procedures.

Shortly after Gov. Hogan vetoed three major bills in the landmark police reform package, state lawmakers were on a mission to override the governor’s rulings in the final days of the legislative session.

Maryland Lawmakers Override Hogan’s Vetoes To Pass Police Reform Bills https://t.co/r252iUlAfo

— Anthony Barondess (@AnthonyBaronde2) April 11, 2021

Hogan contended that central provisions of the sweeping four-part police reform act go too far and will treat police officers unfairly. On Friday, April 10th, he vetoed three bills containing those sections.

By Saturday afternoon, April 10th, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly had voted to override the vetoes. Reportedly, the first provisions of the Maryland Police Accountability Act will take effect later this year.

The legislation will overhaul the disciplinary process for officers accused of misconduct, allow public scrutiny of complaints and internal affairs files, and create a new legal standard requiring that police use only “necessary” and “proportional” force.

Officers who do use excessive force will face additional criminal penalties, including up to 10 years in prison. Police also be limited on when they can obtain “no-knock” warrants or raid homes at night.

Maryland was first state to enact Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR)
Now it is first state to repeal it.
Maryland legislators override Gov Larry Hogan’s veto of landmark police reform measures https://t.co/V9bJRG4eFj

— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) April 11, 2021

Supporters of the legislation stated that it is the most far-reaching police reform in the state’s history, an advance they claim will begin to restore frayed community trust in law enforcement. House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D) sponsored key portions of the package and said in a statement:

“Now, for the first time in our nation’s history, the rights of officers will not be held above the rights of individuals and policing in Maryland will be transparent and citizen-centered.”

On Friday, April 9th, during his veto message, Hogan said:

“The police reform effort was overtake by political agendas that do not serve the public safety interests of the citizens of Maryland and that he bills be vetoed would further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence.”

Republican lawmakers echoed the Governor’s concerns and said that the provisions would leave officers fearful that split-second decisions under dangerous circumstances might cost them their jobs or send them to prison.

Maryland Fraternal Order of Police President Clyde Boatwright warned that the legislation would have a “significant impact on the hiring and retention of law enforcement officers in our state.”

Under one of the bills passed over Hogan’s veto, complaints against officers, even those rejected by internal affairs investigators as baseless, will become public records and subject to potential release.

Maryland Lawmakers Override Vetoes On Sweeping Police Reform – NPR: * Maryland Lawmakers Override Vetoes On Sweeping Police Reform NPR * Maryland becomes first state to repeal police Bill of Rights, overriding Hogan veto Politico * Maryland Gov. Hogan… https://t.co/Pyk8NOMvK0

— Auburn Alabama (@AuburnAlabamaa) April 11, 2021

Critics of the legislation, including police unions and many Republican lawmakers, fear that the transparency measure will end up smearing the reputations of officers by airing baseless complaints. Sen. Robert Cassily, a Hartford County Republican, accused Democrats of “anti-police animus” in passing the legislation.

Among other far-reaching provisions passed over Hogan’s veto is the repeal of Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, a 1974 law that guarantees job protections and due process rights for officers accused of wrongdoing that critics have long alleged shields officers from accountability and has been among the biggest impediments to reform.

Maryland was the first state in the nation to pass such a law, which dozens of other states have since copied, and now it is the first state to repeal it.

On Saturday, The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to override Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s vetoes pushing the police reform package into law.

The Maryland Senate voted 31-16 to override the Governor veto of House Bill 670.https://t.co/tnFgdvJbcR

— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) April 11, 2021

Complaints, infractions, and allegations of wrongdoing against officers will now be handled by a new disciplinary system controlled largely by civilian committees that will weigh evidence against officers and recommend discipline.

Del. Matt Morgan, a Southern Maryland Republican, suggested that those in favor of the legislation read the names of the hundreds of people murdered in Baltimore each year. He said the legislation “does not make our citizens more safe.” Via – Law Enforcement Today

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